July 01, 2007
When I started CrossFit, I was deployed and had been on what I thought was a good rhythm for working out. I had a regular schedule that varied between a focus on runs, a focus on push-ups, and a focus on setting a bench press personal record (PR). In October, six months into my time in Baghdad, I was getting nowhere with any of my goals and, not surprisingly, my shoulders were chronically sore. I was primed for a better option. Enter CrossFit.
I did my first WODs in mid-January 2007, and the results since then have been remarkable. I'm significantly more fit than when I started CrossFit, and, just as important, I anticipate making significant additional fitness gains going forward. My shoulder pain is a fading memory. The muscular appearance I wear today is what I would like to have gotten from bodybuilding workouts in the past. I've regained the strength in pull-ups I had 18 years ago, and I've gained a feel for the kipping pull-up. I've learned how to deadlift, and love it. I've gained 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups, and for the first time I "maxed out" both exercises on a Navy fitness test. While running perhaps a third of the miles that I used to run (very significant as I have grade 3 and 4 degeneration in all three compartments of my left knee), I cut 40 seconds on my 1.5-mile run for the Navy fitness test. Before CrossFit, I was aware of a couple of narrow weaknesses, and was making no progress on training to address them. Since CrossFit, I'm aware of a bevy of weaknesses--and I'm making progress on most of them. The improvement in attitude and satisfaction as I pursue a quantum leap in fitness is remarkable. It is also infectious, and, much to my delight, my wife and children are enjoying CrossFitting as well.
Paul Eich, a.k.a. "Apolloswabbie," is relatively new to CrossFit but brought with him the baggage of over 30 years of uncoached weightlifting, cycling, and running. He was awarded instructor rank in Shotokan karate in 1997. A Naval Aviator with 18 years on active duty, his three most recent deployments were to the Central Command Area of Responsibility and included a tour launching combat missions from the deck of the USS Enterprise, flying combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and serving with the U.S. Army on the Multi- National Corps - Iraq.